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History: May 1977 - 1990

In May of 1977 the first ever-official delegation, of 51 persons, traveled to Ikeda. Penticton's Mayor of the day, Al Kenyon and his wife Nella were the lead delegates. Alderman Harry Fisher, City administrator Bill Cooper, and his wife Doris also played a major roll with the delegation. Ross Axworthy of the Penticton Ikeda Club was the delegation organizer. On May 19, 1977, the new Mayor of Ikeda, Akira Ishii [who remained Mayor until 1992] and Mayor Kenyon signed the Sister City agreement. The Sister City Societies in Ikeda and Penticton have bound copies of the original agreement, which are displayed, along with other memorabilia in both Ikeda and Penticton City Hall. The first Ikeda delegation, of 38 members, led by Mayor Akira Ishii and his wife Maki, came to Penticton in the fall of 1978. Penticton hosts, especially those that had traveled to Ikeda endeavoured to show our Japanese friends a wonderful time and provide a glimpse of the way of life in Canada.

Councilor Peter Klimuk led the second delegation to Ikeda in the spring of 1979. Past President of the Penticton Chamber of Commerce and future President of the B.C. Chamber Of Commerce Gerry Frederick and his wife Yvonne were key delegates. Gerry introduced the „hooey stick” which is still brought out, on occasion in Ikeda and Penticton. The Penticton Pipe Band was an enormous hit when performing in Ikeda and other parts of Japan twice, in 1980 and again in 1993. The band and individual members have performed for Ikeda visitors on many occasions in Penticton ever since the first visit.

Japanese Festival in Ikeda, JapanThe second Ikeda city group came to Penticton in 1980 led by Ikeda and Hokkaido Chambers Of Commerce special representative Yoichiro Takamori [who was also in the 1978 group] and his wife Noriko. Ikeda Curling Club President Seiji Makino was deputy leader. Penticton representatives met the delegation in Victoria and escorted them there, in Vancouver and on to Penticton. Yoichiro remained one of our closest associates and supporters until he passed away in the fall of 2003. A Japanese stone memorial, in his memory, is featured in the Ikeda Japanese Garden.

Councilor Ron Biggs and his wife Lynn led the third group of citizens to Japan in fall of 1981. Postmaster Wes McElgunn made a special presentation to the Ikeda Postmaster. Ikeda Jaycees traveled to Penticton and were hosted by Penticton Jaycees in January of 1982. Noriyuki Shibata was the group leader assisted by Kenji Watazawa.

Mayor Akira Ishii led a delegation to Penticton in June of 1983 to attend of Penticton's 75th anniversary celebrations. This event was under the chairmanship of Bruce Morris. Keiji Tojo, planning director made a major contribution to the group Mayor Ishii took great pleasure in riding in an antique car during the parade, cooking pancakes, barbecuing steaks and other “Canadian” style activities.

Chamber of Commerce President Bob Harvey and his wife Sue were the lead delegates for a large and diverse group of citizens that traveled to Japan and other parts of the Orient in the fall of 1983. Bruce and Julie Morris were key members of our delegation. Our Japanese hosts seem, to us, quite formal at first glance. They soon relax and can be observed performing such tasks as barbecuing for us, still in dress clothes. Mayor Ishii, during the visit of our 1983 delegation to Ikeda was observed signing a proclamation concerning the occasion on the back of the car, in which he was riding.

In the fall of 1985 an Ikeda group, comprised primarily of dairy farmers came to Penticton, led by City Treasurer Yasuyuki Kitabayashi and agricultural cattle director Toshio Miyazaki.

In 1986, Ikeda artist and English & French interpreter extraordinaire, Tatsuo Yamamoto brought a selection of his paintings to Penticton and for exhibition at Expo 86 in Vancouver. Tatsuo and his amazing interpreting abilities greatly contributed to the establishing of the sound foundation of the relationship. He spent some time teaching Japanese and art in universities in the United States. He is now a full time artist back in Japan.

During 1986, also as a result of our Ikeda contacts, the Penticton Sister city Society hosted the only performance, outside Expo 86, by Kobe's Ikuta Shinto Shrine. This proved to be an amazing presentation, likely never equalled in Canada, of traditional Japanese entertainment and sport. That evening a Shinto wedding ceremony was also conducted for two Canadian couples. The couples, one from Penticton and one from Montreal were selected from written applications.

In 1988 Mayor Dorothy Whittaker [ now Tinning] led a Penticton delegation to visit Ikeda to honour Ikeda's 90th anniversary. Commemorative trees were planted according to a Japanese custom. Penticton Society directors Al & Lorna Dawkins were key delegates and presented a banner signed by Penticton and Ikeda people attending the various events.

Deputy Mayor Kazuo Oishi and his wife Setsuko brought a group of Ikeda people to Penticton in the fall of 1989. They dedicated the planting of a commemorative rose bush in the Penticton Rose Garden.

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